Heavenly Peace

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As you count down the days to Christmas, take a minute to focus on what is important and in the craziness continue to refocus on your Creator.
It is His love you are celebrating.
This miraculous gift of the Son, this unquenchable love of the Father, this daily guide of the Spirit.
“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Instead of replaying past moments or creating perfect scenarios in your head of the near future, let it be what it will be. 
Enjoy the imperfections of this day and those to come.
Know that everything “being perfect” will not create the feeling of fulfillment you are looking for.
You are looking for love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness…. and these are fruits of the Spirit (not fruits of the season). 
May you be filled with the Heavenly Peace of God’s Spirit as you walk among the complicated chaos of the humans around you.

Push Through

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“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God doesn’t want you to have a life that looks good. He wants you to have a life that is good.

That means facing the challenges, sticking it out thru the hard stuff to learn the hard lessons.

The hard lessons are the ones that give us the truths (and strength) to live a good life.

Your identity is in Christ, not a title, a position or job.

Your worth is who you are, not what you have (or don’t have).

You are loved completely, endlessly and for all eternity because you have been embraced by God.

You were made for more than just an easy life.

You have been made to live a God-ordained, Christ-centered, Holy Spirit powered good life.

Push through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff, to the peace that passes understanding and the faith that does not depend on circumstances.

I know it is hard.

With Jesus, you can do the hard stuff.

REAL LIFE

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The world likes a tidy image to categorize us in but God has no such desire. In fact, he is much more interested in authenticity vs image and reality vs the picture in your head of who you think you are supposed to be.

Jesus does not expect you to create a perfect picture of a good life.

Instead, he invites you to live your real life with him involved in it every day.

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you”. 1 Peter 5:6, 7 MSG

Let go of the image of you think you need to be and embrace who you are. God does.

Start enjoying the reality of your life instead of being discontent that it doesn’t fit the image of what you think it should look like.

In fact, the more you let go of that image, the more you are able to thrive in the life God has given you. Stop spending all your energy trying to shine it up and make your life look perfect, instead simply enjoy who you are and what you have.

Are you miserable because you are trying to live up to an unauthentic image?

What would happen if you let go of it and asked God to help you love who you are, where you are and what you have?

It Isn’t Easy

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So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)

Sometimes we think that if we are doing “really good” and walking with God faithfully every day then that means everything will be easy and good.

But life is not easy and people are not good.

We are all sinners saved by grace and some people are just sinners not saved yet.

The truth is that suffering and trial can cause more spiritual growth than the times of ease and “victory” ever can.

The times that are most challenging in our lives reveal our idols and expose the core beliefs we run on that are false.

Those times are purifying and faith strengthening but they are not easy.

They are hard.

They are uncomfortable and it feels like you are dying.

What is dying? Pseudo faith like, “God wants me to be happy.” No. God wants you to be holy. Sanctified. Free from the power of sin. Free to worship Him solely.

What is dying? Sin’s hold on your mind, your heart, your behaviors.

Sin is dying. It hurts.

When death is at work in your life, God is using the suffering (that he did not cause)to purify your faith. He uses it, so that life- true life, abundant life, God’s life in you, can break free and become your “new normal”.

Thank God, he loves us enough to not only walk with us through the suffering but to actually use it to purify us.

No, it is not easy but it is absolutely worth it.